On first impression, Cisternae is not much to behold in its formative stages at Montgomery Farm in Allen.
Cisternae, the name that artist Brad Goldberg gave to his work, is based on the rainwater collection system once used by many farms and ranches on the prairie.
The actual sculpture near the intersection of Bethany and Alma has not been erected. Right now, its foundation is little more than cut limestone piled at the base of what will become a water-collecting cistern. A modern windmill will jut from the old-timey cistern.
Mr. Goldberg is the artist behind several other Dallas-area landmarks. Mostly art, partly functional, his creations are crafted with an eye toward preserving the integrity of the land surrounding them.
"I don't want to go around the world making things that are unnecessary – otherwise it becomes pollution as much as anything else," Mr. Goldberg says.
Educated at Rhode Island School of Design, Mr. Goldberg walks a path between art and landscape architecture. He lives in Dallas but travels regularly to Europe.
Mr. Goldberg says Cisternae is in harmony with the area and the philosophy behind Montgomery Farm, a multi-use development that bills itself as an environmentally friendly community.
Without specific direction or assignment, Mr. Goldberg used the land itself and its history as inspiration. The cistern was initially designed as a solution to the standing water he observed at the site – a place to direct water runoff from the road.
Mr. Goldberg had to coax the engineers into embracing it.
"At first the engineers didn't have a vision for how it would integrate into the roads. But then we noticed there was a lot of water collecting and they needed something to displace the surface water," Mr. Goldberg says.
Cisternae consists of the tank, the windmill, two pools and a dam crafted from Lueders limestone from West Texas.
The first pool cleans the water as it passes through aquatic plants chosen specifically for that purpose.
Water in the second pool is pulled into the cistern by a wind-driven turbine and routed to a spillway that creates a fountain. The fountain becomes a source of water to feed area ponds for irrigation.
Mr. Goldberg has been working on this particular sculpture for more than 3 ½ years, only missing one day of work because of inclement weather. He will complete his contribution to the project in six weeks, leaving the masonry team of Dee Brown Inc. to complete it by spring.
Mr. Goldberg's artwork can be found in Pegasus Plaza, the lobby of the Crescent Court Hotel and the sanctuary of the Prince of Peace Catholic Community.
Montgomery Farms is the first residential community to which Mr. Goldberg has contributed. He said he's pleased with the spirit behind the development.
"They are really trying to stay in touch with the nature that has been lost out there," Mr. Goldberg said.